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As August winds down and summer vacations come to an end, Wall Street is ripe with anticipation on whether Fed Chair Janet Yellen will stick to her guns and raise interest rates in September or push it back to December. And as the unknown rattles many investors, market bull Ed Yardeni insists stocks and bonds will be just fine.
"Given that [a rate hike] has been so widely expected, the reaction should be minimal," the president of Yardeni Research said Tuesday on CNBC's "Futures Now."
According to Yardeni, the global economy is in a period of "secular stagnation," which creates a positive environment for both the equity and fixed-income markets. "For the stock market and bond market, secular stagnation on a global basis means we have something in between," he said. "We don't really have inflation, we don't really have deflation and central banks continue to maintain relatively easy money."
Stock market bulls and bears are in the ultimate game of tug of war—and the market isn't budging.
The S&P 500 is in a virtual deadlock, flat for the last six months and up less than 2 percent for the year. And according to one technician, if the market continues to trade in this narrow range, it will mark an event so rare it's only happened once in the past 50 years.
"There hasn't been a 5 percent pullback in the S&P 500 since December," Jonathan Krinsky said Tuesday on CNBC's "Futures Now." Krinsky noted that while the occurrence isn't unprecedented, the last time the S&P 500 went a full year without a 5 percent decline was 20 years ago in 1995, and there were only four times before that in 1964, 1961, 1958 and 1954. In each of those years, the market posted an average return of 30 percent.
China's move to devalue its currency roiled the markets last week, and stoked new fears about the health of the world's third largest economy.
"She's going to be more hesitant to raise rates because she sees how fragile the global economy is," Paul told CNBC's "Futures Now" on Thursday.
"She's under the gun," he added. "I could be wrong, but I don't think they are going to raise interest rates."
According to the former Republican presidential candidate, a rapidly slowing Chinese economy adds just another headwind for an already struggling U.S. economy.
"I think there's going to be enough problems existing, whether it's the Chinese precipitating some crisis, or whether it's our economy breaking down," he said.
It's no secret commodities are in a free fall.
"The commodity sector is on its way down from the bursting of the largest commodity bubble in the history of the world," Walter Zimmermann said Thursday on CNBC's "Futures Now."
But this doesn't come as a surprise to Zimmermann, who explained that a "major fire sale in commodity prices" happens every 15 years. "The next low is not due until the second half of 2016," he said.
Zimmermann noted that this cycle comes in many phases, beginning with a "stealth" phase, peaking with "manic" buying and ending with panic selling, which is what he says the market has experienced for the better part of the past year. "The more damaging the bust, the longer it takes for the commodity sector to carve out a bottom and start trending higher again," he said.
With Tuesday's stunning announcement that the People's Bank of China would devalue the Chinese yuan about 2 percent against the U.S. dollar, China became the latest nation to join the global currency war. But according to outspoken market pundit Peter Schiff, China's too late, because the U.S. already has the inside track in the battle to debase its currency.
"America is going to win the currency war," Schiff said Tuesday on CNBC's "Futures Now." "I think we're going to win, but right now you have a dollar bubble."
The dollar bubble claims fly in the face of how the U.S. common currency has performed this year. The dollar index is up more than 7 percent year to date.
But according to the Euro Pacific Capital CEO, the Federal Reserve will hold off on raising rates as long as possible, and over time, that will cause the dollar to collapse.
While the Fed has discussed plans to raise interest rates this year as early as September, Schiff believes that the Fed will instead implement another round of quantitative easing.
"They are going to do QE4, they're going to do QE5, they're going to do QE's indefinitely until a currency crisis ends the party and they can't do it anymore. And that crisis is going to come," Schiff said. "That is what the drug addicts on Wall Street want. They want another fix, and I think the pushers are going to provide it, unfortunately."
To be sure, Schiff has made several other bold predictions, some of which, like his accurate call on the housing crisis in 2007, have come true. Others, like his claim that gold would go to $5,000, have not.
Still, Schiff remains resolute that the dollar will soon see its day of reckoning.
Read MoreMarkets fear more to China's move
"You have all these currency speculators that have been fooled by the Fed's monetary magic," Schiff said. "[They] are betting the wrong way, and when they figure it out I think the bottom is going to drop out of the dollar."
By Schiff's reasoning, the U.S. economy is doomed.
"This economy will be in recession if the Fed raises rates, and it'll be in recession even if they don't raise rates," he said.
Commodities are the gift that keep on not giving.
The sector is in the throes of an 'annus horribilis', having gotten wrecked over the past few years despite massive liquidity that should have boosted their value. Bullish investor after bullish investor has tried to call a bottom, in a set of calls that now appear ill-conceived and money losing.
Read MoreStocks put to the test in week ahead
That, of course, hardly marks the first big drop for the alternative investment group. That widely watched commodity index has fallen 17 percent the last three months, and a whopping 42 percent in the past two years.
David Stockman has long warned that the stock market is on the verge of a massive collapse, and the recent price action has him even more convinced than ever that the bottom is about to fall out.
"I think it's pretty obvious that the top is in," the Reagan administration's OMB director said Thursday on CNBC's "Futures Now." The S&P 500 has traded in a historically narrow range for the better part of 2015, having moved just 1 percent higher year to date. "It's just waiting for the knee-jerk bulls, robo traders and dip buyers to finally capitulate."
Stockman, whose past claims have yet to come to fruition, still believes that the excessive monetary policy from central banks around the world has created a "debt supernova," and all the signs point to "the end of the central bank enabled bubble," which could cause a worldwide recession.
Shares of Walt Disney Co., previously the best performer in the Dow Jones industrial average year to date, plunged on Wednesday after the company reported quarterly earnings. Although earnings came in above analyst expectations, revenue fell short, prompting a drop of almost 10 percent. But some traders are using the drop as a buying opportunity and expect the stock to rebound to prior highs.
"This could make sense, because after earnings come out, the premium drops and now you can risk just 1.5 percent to make that bullish bet," CNBC contributor Mike Khouw said Wednesday on CNBC's "Fast Money."
Disney options traded at nine times their average daily volume on Wednesday. According to Khouw, Disney was one of the most active stocks on Wednesday, second only to dividends options trading in Apple.
Specifically, traders bought the September 115-strike calls for $1.50 and the January 120-strike calls for $2.85, "two of the most surprising places where we saw activity," Khouw said. Buyers of those calls see Disney gaining about 5 percent by September, or about 10 percent by January.
Disney's shares extended losses on Thursday, trading down about 4 percent at $105. The stock is up more than 13 percent year to date.
However, the majority of analysts are still bullish on the stock, with an average price target of $121.54.
On Wednesday, Guggenheim Securities revised its target price on Disney to $120 from $127, but noted long-term growth potential for the company.
"We believe that investors will continue to take a longer-term view of valuing unique asset stories and see Disney as continuing to fit this category despite growing concern about the pay-TV marketplace," Guggenheim's Michael Morris wrote in a note to clients Wednesday.
The bad news for commodities could be spreading.
As gold, oil, copper and other commodities tumble to multiyear lows, one expert says the turmoil is far from over. In fact, he said the collapse could mean that a full-blown market correction is just around the corner.
"We're looking at real weakness in the stock market here in the U.S.," Andrew Hecht said Tuesday on CNBC's "Futures Now." "We've had a really good time in that market, and I think it's overdue for a correction."
Hecht, author of "How to Make Money with Commodities," said he's watching three commodities markets in particular: copper, oil and lumber. Hecht said copper is especially signaling a global slowdown, most notably in China.
Copper has fallen almost 17 percent this year to new six-year lows. Crude oil is down about 14 percent year to date, but saw a brief rally of 2 percent on Tuesday. Lumber has fallen about 22 percent this year.
Hecht said although August will see some volatility and bounces in commodities markets, there's still a lot more downside risk in all raw materials.
"We'll see a lot of moves like we're seeing in crude oil today, but I think once September, October settles in, we'll see another leg down in these commodity markets, and that does not bode well for equity markets in the U.S.," Hecht said.
"There's so much telegraphed to the downside, but we haven't even had one ounce of good news, and I think you need something going to get [a bottom] started," Stutland said Tuesday.
"The commodities market since 2011 has been making a series of lower highs and lower lows and I think that's going to continue," Hecht said.
For publicly traded companies, beating earnings expectations just isn't what it used to be.
Companies that have beat both earnings and revenue estimate this earnings season have seen their stocks jump just 1.5 percent on average, according to RBC's market strategy team. That compares to an average rise of 1.9 percent.
Similarly, FactSet senior earnings analyst John Butters notices that companies beating just earnings estimates (but not both earnings and revenue) have seen their stocks rise only 0.8 percent in the period starting two days before the report, and ending two days after. That's below the 1 percent average rise over the past five years.
An even more dramatic nonchalance can be seen around earnings misses. In the two-days-before-to-two-days-after period, companies that have missed earnings have tended to see a drop of 1.3 percent, versus a 2.3 percent drop on average, according to FactSet.
It's worth noting that RBC doesn't notice a similar trend for companies that have missed both revenue and earnings estimates—those stocks have tended to fall 3.1 percent this quarter, the same amount as in quarters prior, according to their numbers.
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